Luke Chapter Eighteen
But, in the presence of all the power of their enemies and oppressors (for there would be such, as we have seen, so that they might even lose their lives), there was a resource for the afflicted remnant. They were (chap. 18) to persevere in prayer, the resource, moreover, at all times, of the faithful-of man, if he understand it. God would avenge His elect, although, as to the exercise of their faith, He would, indeed, try it. But when He came, would the Son of man find this faith that waited for His intervention? That was the solemn question, the answer to which is left to the responsibility of man-a question which implies that it could hardly be expected, although it ought to exist. Nevertheless, should there be any faith acceptable to Him who seeks it, it will not be disappointed or confounded.
It will be observed, that the kingdom (and that is the subject) is presented in two ways among the Jews at that time-in the Person of Jesus then present (chap. 17:21), and in the execution of the judgment, in which the elect ones should be spared, and the vengeance of God be executed in their behalf. On this account, they were only to think of pleasing Him, however oppressive and at ease the world might be. It is the day of the judgment of the wicked, and not that in which the righteous will be caught up to heaven. Enoch and Abraham are more the types of the latter; Noe and Lot, of those who will be spared to live on the earth; only there are oppressors of whom the remnant are to be avenged. Verse 31 shews that they must think only of the judgment and connect themselves with nothing as men. Detached from everything, their only hope would be in God at such a moment.
The Lord then resumes, in verse 9 of chapter 18, the description of those characters which were suitable to the kingdom, to enter it now by following Him. From verse 35  the great transition draws near historically. Verse 8, then, of chapter 18, ends the prophetic warning with respect to the last days. The Lord afterwards resumes the consideration of the characters which befit the state of things introduced by grace. Self-righteousness is far from being a recommendation for entrance into the kingdom. The most miserable sinner, confessing his sin, is justified before God rather than the self-righteous. He that exalts himself shall be abased, and he that humbles himself shall be exalted. What apattern and witness of this truth was the Lord Jesus Christ Himself!
The spirit of a little child-simple, believing all that he is told, confiding, of little importance in his own eyes, who must give way to all-this was meet for the kingdom of God. What else would He admit?
Again, the principles of the kingdom, as established by the rejection of Christ, were in full contrast with the temporal blessings attached to obedience to the law, excellent as that law was in its place. Goodness in man there was none: God only is good. The young man who had fulfilled the law in his outward walk is called to leave everything that he may follow the Lord. Jesus knew his circumstances and his heart, and put His finger on the covetousness that ruled him and was fed by the riches he possessed. He was to sell all that he had and follow Jesus; he should have treasure in heaven. The young man went away sorrowful. The riches that, in the eyes of men, appeared to be a sign of God's favour, were but a hindrance when the heart and heaven came in question. The Lord announces at the same time, that whosoever should forsake anything that he prized for the sake of the kingdom of heaven should receive much more in this world, and, in the next, life everlasting. We may remark that it is only the principle which is here laid down in reference to the kingdom.
At last the Lord, on His way to Jerusalem, plainly tells His disciples in private that He was going to be delivered up, to be ill-treated and put to death, and then to rise again. It was the fulfilment of all that the prophets had written. But the disciples understood none of those things.
If the Lord was to make those who followed Him take up the cross, He could not but bear it Himself. He went before His sheep, in this path of self-denial and devotedness, to prepare the way. He went alone. It was a path which His people had not yet trodden, nor indeed could they till after He had done so.
 The case of the blind man at Jericho is, as already noted, the beginning (in all the synoptical Gospels) of the last events of Christ's life.
── John Darby《Synopsis of Luke》
The parable of the importunate widow. (1-8) The Pharisee and the publican. (9-14) Children brought to Christ. (15-17) The ruler hindered by his riches. (18-30) Christ foreshows his death. (31-34) A blind man restored to sight. (35-43)
Commentary on Luke 18:1-8
(Read Luke 18:1-8)
All God's people are praying people. Here earnest steadiness in prayer for spiritual mercies is taught. The widow's earnestness prevailed even with the unjust judge: she might fear lest it should set him more against her; but our earnest prayer is pleasing to our God. Even to the end there will still be ground for the same complaint of weakness of faith.
Commentary on Luke 18:9-14
(Read Luke 18:9-14)
This parable was to convince some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others. God sees with what disposition and design we come to him in holy ordinances. What the Pharisee said, shows that he trusted to himself that he was righteous. We may suppose he was free from gross and scandalous sins. All this was very well and commendable. Miserable is the condition of those who come short of the righteousness of this Pharisee, yet he was not accepted; and why not? He went up to the temple to pray, but was full of himself and his own goodness; the favour and grace of God he did not think worth asking. Let us beware of presenting proud devotions to the Lord, and of despising others. The publican's address to God was full of humility, and of repentance for sin, and desire toward God. His prayer was short, but to the purpose; God be merciful to me a sinner. Blessed be God, that we have this short prayer upon record, as an answered prayer; and that we are sure that he who prayed it, went to his house justified; for so shall we be, if we pray it, as he did, through Jesus Christ. He owned himself a sinner by nature, by practice, guilty before God. He had no dependence but upon the mercy of God; upon that alone he relied. And God's glory is to resist the proud, and give grace to the humble. Justification is of God in Christ; therefore the self-condemned, and not the self-righteous, are justified before God.
Commentary on Luke 18:15-17
(Read Luke 18:15-17)
None are too little, too young, to be brought to Christ, who knows how to show kindness to those not capable of doing service to him. It is the mind of Christ, that little children should be brought to him. The promise is to us, and to our seed; therefore He will bid them welcome to him with us. And we must receive his kingdom as children, not by purchase, and must call it our Father's gift.
Commentary on Luke 18:18-30
(Read Luke 18:18-30)
Many have a great deal in them very commendable, yet perish for lack of some one thing; so this ruler could not bear Christ's terms, which would part between him and his estate. Many who are loth to leave Christ, yet do leave him. After a long struggle between their convictions and their corruptions, their corruptions carry the day. They are very sorry that they cannot serve both; but if one must be quitted, it shall be their God, not their wordly gain. Their boasted obedience will be found mere outside show; the love of the world in some form or other lies at the root. Men are apt to speak too much of what they have left and lost, of what they have done and suffered for Christ, as Peter did. But we should rather be ashamed that there has been any regret or difficulty in doing it.
Commentary on Luke 18:31-34
(Read Luke 18:31-34)
The Spirit of Christ, in the Old Testament prophets, testified beforehand his sufferings, and the glory that should follow, 1 Peter 1:11. The disciples' prejudices were so strong, that they would not understand these things literally. They were so intent upon the prophecies which spake of Christ's glory, that they overlooked those which spake of his sufferings. People run into mistakes, because they read their Bibles by halves, and are only for the smooth things. We are as backward to learn the proper lessons from the sufferings, crucifixion, and resurrection of Christ, as the disciples were to what he told them as to those events; and for the same reason; self-love, and a desire of worldly objects, close our understandings.
Commentary on Luke 18:35-43
(Read Luke 18:35-43)
This poor blind man sat by the wayside, begging. He was not only blind, but poor, the fitter emblem of the world of mankind which Christ came to heal and save. The prayer of faith, guided by Christ's encouraging promises, and grounded on them, shall not be in vain. The grace of Christ ought to be thankfully acknowledged, to the glory of God. It is for the glory of God if we follow Jesus, as those will do whose eyes are opened. We must praise God for his mercies to others, as well as for mercies to ourselves. Would we rightly understand these things, we must come to Christ, like the blind man, earnestly beseeching him to open our eyes, and to show us clearly the excellence of his precepts, and the value of his salvation.
── Matthew Henry《Concise Commentary on Luke》
 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?
And shall not God — The most just Judge, vindicate his own elect - Preserve the Christians from all their adversaries, and in particular save them out of the general destruction, and avenge them of the Jews? Though he bear long with them - Though he does not immediately put an end, either to the wrongs of the wicked, or the sufferings of good men.
 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?
Yet when the Son of man cometh, will he find faith upon earth — Yet notwithstanding all the instances both of his long suffering and of his justice, whenever he shall remarkably appear, against their enemies in this age or in after ages, how few true believers will be found upon earth!
 And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
He spake this parable — Not to hypocrites; the Pharisee here mentioned was no hypocrite, no more than an outward adulterer: but he sincerely trusted in himself that he was righteous, and accordingly told God so, in the prayer which none but God heard.
 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
I fast twice in the week — So did all the strict Pharisees: every Monday and Thursday.
I give tithes of all that I possess — Many of them gave one full tenth of their income in tithes, and another tenth in alms. the sum of this plea is, I do no harm: I use all the means of grace: I do all the good I can.
 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
The publican standing afar off — From the holy of holies, would not so much as lift up his eyes to heaven - Touched with shame, which is more ingenuous than fear.
 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
This man went down — From the hill on which the temple stood, justified rather than the other - That is, and not the other.
 And they brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them.
 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
Calling them — Those that brought the children: of such is the kingdom of God - Such are subjects of the Messiah's kingdom. And such as these it properly belongs to.
 And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother.
Exodus 20:12, etc.
 Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.
Yet lackest thou one thing — Namely, to love God more than mammon. Our Saviour knew his heart, and presently put him upon a trial which laid it open to the ruler himself. And to cure his love of the world, which could not in him be cured otherwise, Christ commanded him to sell all that he had. But he does not command us to do this; but to use all to the glory of God.
 Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished.
 And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.
They understood none of these things — The literal meaning they could not but understand. But as they could not reconcile this to their preconceived opinion of the Messiah, they were utterly at a loss in what parabolical or figurative sense to take what he said concerning his sufferings; having their thoughts still taken up with the temporal kingdom.
 And it came to pass, that as he was come nigh unto Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the way side begging:
── John ‘Wesley《Explanatory Notes on Luke》
Chapter 18. Secret of Prayer
Keep from Youth
Lack One Thing
I. Discern Between True and False Prayers
II. Requirements for Entering the Kingdom of God
III. A Blind Receives Sight
── Chih-Hsin Chang《An Outline of The New Testament》
The Persistent Widow (Lk 18:1-8)
1. In Luke 18, we find two parables that deal with the subject of
a. "The Persistent Widow" - Lk 18:1-8
b. "The Pharisee And The Tax Collector" - Lk 18:9-14
2. This is not the first time Jesus used a parable to teaching
a. Remember "The Friend At Midnight"? - Lk 11:5-13
b. In which Jesus taught the value of persistence in prayer?
3. Evidently the element of persistence in prayer was very important to
a. For that is also the theme of the first parable in Luke 18
b. As the first verse reads: "Then He spoke a parable to them, that
men always ought to pray and not lose heart..."
[Are we persistent in our prayers? Do we appreciate the value of such
persistence? Or have we lost heart and don't pray as we ought? Let's
see what we can glean from the parable of "The Persistent Widow"...]
I. THE PARABLE ITSELF
A. THE CHARACTER OF THE JUDGE - Lk 18:2
1. One who did not fear God nor regard man
2. An unjust judge, for which this parable is sometimes known as
"The Unjust Judge"
B. THE DISTRESS OF THE WIDOW - Lk 18:3
1. She has some adversary who has wronged her
2. She seeks the aid of the judge to avenge her
C. THE DIFFICULTY SHE FACED - Lk 18:
1. The judge would not help her at first
2. Repeated attempts seem to fall on deaf ears
D. AT LAST THE JUDGE HEEDS HER COMPLAINT - Lk 18:4b-5
1. Not out of any sense for what was right in the sight of God or
2. But only to avoid being wearied by her constant appeals
[Unlike many of the parables, we are not left on our own to determine
the point of this parable. Jesus Himself makes it clear as we
II. THE PARABLE APPLIED
A. HEAR WHAT THE UNJUST JUDGE SAID...
1. He was moved by the persistence of the widow
2. Even when he was not moved by reverence for God or regard for
B. SHALL NOT GOD AVENGE HIS OWN ELECT?
1. This is an argument from the lesser to the greater
a. If an unjust judge will heed a persistence widow...
b. ...how much more will a Just God heed His chosen people!
2. Our assurance is even stronger when we note the following
The Widow God's People
a. A stranger a. His elect, 1 Pe 2:9-10
b. Only one b. We are many
c. At a distance c. We can come boldly, He 4:15-16
d. An unjust judge d. A righteous Father
e. On her own e. God is for us, Ro 8:31-32
f. Pleads her own case f. We have an Advocate, Ro 8:34
g. No promise of an answer g. Promise given, Lk 18:
h. Access limited h. Access unlimited (can pray to
i. Asking provoked judge i. Asking delights God
3. If persistence paid off for the widow, how much more for God's
elect who pray?
C. GOD WILL AVENGE HIS ELECT!
1. He may bear long with the prayers of His persecuted people...
- Lk 18:7b
a. For example, cf. Re 6:9-10
b. His longsuffering may be to give the persecutors time to
repent - 2 Pe 3:9
2. But when His vengeance comes, it will come swiftly!
a. There is a Day coming in which God will take vengeance
- cf. 2 Th 1:7-9
b. And when it comes, there will be "sudden destruction" with
no way of escape - cf. 1 Th 5:1-3
D. BUT WILL THERE BE FAITH ON THE EARTH WHEN HE COMES?
1. The Lord will come, avenging His elect
2. But His delay may prompt some to lose faith (implying lack of
prayer is indicative of a lack of faith!)
3. The Lord's concern over this matter is what prompts this
a. That men always ought to pray
b. That men not lose heart
1. Have you begun to lose heart? Has your faith weakened?
a. The state of your "prayer life" reveals the true condition of
b. If you do not pray "always" (cf. "without ceasing" 1 Th 5:17),
your faith is waning!
2. But the Lord has given us reason to believe in the power of prayer
in this parable...
a. Especially when we are persecuted for the cause of Christ
b. For we do not serve an unjust judge, but a God who has made us
His elect people!
May this parable of "The Persistent Widow", along with "The Friend At
Midnight", encourage us never to lose heart and stop praying!
The Pharisee And The Tax Collector (Lk 18:9-14)
1. We've noted that in Luke 18, there are two parables that deal with
the subject of prayer...
a. "The Persistent Widow" - Lk 18:1-8
b. "The Pharisee And The Tax Collector" - Lk 18:9-14
2. In "The Persistent Widow"...
a. Jesus encouraged us to "pray and not lose heart" - Lk 18:1
b. He taught the value of persevering in prayer
3. In the parable before us now, known as "The Pharisee And The
a. Jesus illustrated the spirit that ought to pervade our prayers
b. He teaches us how and in what manner we ought to pray to be heard
by God - Lk 18:14
[Without the proper spirit, our perseverance in prayer will be for
nothing. This second parable on prayer is therefore very important,
and worthy of our consideration as we begin with...]
I. THE PARABLE ANALYZED
A. IT IS ABOUT TWO DIFFERENT MEN...
1. They both go to the temple to pray - Lk 18:10
2. One is a Pharisee, the other a tax-collector
a. Pharisees were a religious sect, noted for their strict
observance of the Law and the traditions of the elders
b. Tax-collectors were consider by the Pharisees to be
extortioners and traitors
1) Extortioners, because they collected more than was
required, for personal gain
2) Traitors, because while Jews they represented an
occupying power (
B. IT IS ABOUT TWO DIFFERENT PRAYERS...
1. The prayer of the Pharisee - Lk 18:11-12
a. He thanks God that he is not like others
1) Especially extortioners, unjust, adulterers
2) or even the tax collector nearby
-- Thus he reveals his disdain for others - cf. Lk 18:9
b. He recounts his good deeds
1) "I fast twice a week" - the Law required only an annual
fast - Lev 16:29
2) "I give tithes of all that I possess." - The Law
required only a tithe on certain items; this man gave
tithes on ALL he possessed - cf. Deu 14:22-23
-- Thus he reveals how he trusted in his self-righteousness
- cf. Lk 18:9
2. The prayer of the tax collector - Lk 18:13
a. He expressed his repentance and humility in what he did
1) He stood "afar off"
2) He would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven
(lifting one's eyes to heaven was a common posture for
prayer at that time)
3) He beat his breast in anguish over his sins
b. He expressed his repentance and humility in what he said
1) Calling himself a sinner
2) Pleading God for mercy
C. IT IS ABOUT TWO DIFFERENT RESULTS...
1. The tax collector goes home "justified" - Lk 18:
a. The term as used in the forensic sense means "not guilty!"
b. He had received that wonderful blessedness described by
David - cf. Ps 32:1-2
2. The Pharisee also goes home...with nothing!
a. He might as well stayed home
b. The most he might have gotten was the reward of being seen
by men - cf. Mt 6:5
[The meaning and purpose of this parable are very clear, both from the
introductory statement by Jesus in Lk 18:9, and the concluding remark
in Lk 18:14...
"for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who
humbles himself will be exalted."
But to reinforce the point, here are a few thoughts relating to...]
II. THE PARABLE APPLIED
A. JESUS WARNS AGAINST SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS...
1. The Pharisee trusted in his own good works, but it was to no
2. He should have recalled the words of Isaiah - cf. Isa 64:6
3. We should remember the words of Jesus and Paul - cf. Lk 17:10;
Ep 2:8-10; Ti 3:3-5
B. JESUS WARNS AGAINST ARROGANCE...
1. The Pharisee despised others, including the tax collector
2. He should have recalled the words of Solomon - cf. Pr 8:13;
3. We should remember the words of Jesus and James - cf. Lk 14:
11; Ja 2:1-9
C. JESUS TEACHES THE VALUE OF HUMILITY...
1. He had taught the value of humility before others in the
parable of "Taking The
Lowest Place" - Lk 14:7-11
2. Now He teaches the value of humility before God!
a. An important principle espoused in Isaiah - Isa 57:15;
b. And extolled by Mary His mother in "The Magnificat" - cf.
1. In this parable of "The Pharisee And The Tax Collector", we have
a. The Pharisee pray as one who needed no forgiveness, and got none
b. The tax collector pray as one needed forgiveness, and he received
2. Do we need forgiveness, even as Jesus' disciples?
a. Of course we do! - cf. 1 Jn 1:8-10
b. Then let us pray with the humility of the tax collector, who
prayed like the man after God's own heart (David)...
"Have mercy upon me, O God, According to Your lovingkindness;
According to the multitude of Your tender mercies,
Blot out my transgressions.
"Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin.
For I acknowledge my transgressions,
And my sin is always before me.
- Psa 51:1-3
Let us not trust in our own righteousness, but in the mercy and
lovingkindness of God offered so abundantly in His Son Jesus Christ!
As the beloved disciple wrote in his first epistle:
"And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus
Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for
our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world."
- 1 Jn 2:1b-2